The Political Economy of Recent Economic Growth in India
The political economy of India’s economic growth is an issue of abiding interest. Higher and sustained economic growth has, all over the world, been the surest and most time tested means of raising living standards and reducing poverty. Further, given that it is a functioning democracy, economic policy in India can often be dictated by political expediency as political parties indulge in competitive populism in the face of improvements in social indicators such as literacy, infant mortality and the like lagging behind rises in the rate of economic growth. Thus the political economy of policy formulation is an important area of concern. Finally, an analysis of what policies can be undertaken given these constraints is an important indicator of potential welfare implications of policies for such a large section of humanity. Several recent reviews of India’s recent growth experience exist (Rodrik and Subrahmanian, 2004, Kelkar, 2004, and Thirlwell, 2004 are three examples). The value added of the present paper is to place India’s growth experience within a broader political economy perspective. It documents the broad contours of economic growth in India; it then analyzes some emerging obstacles to higher economic growth and finally the prospects for accelerating the economic reforms program to place India on a sustained higher economic growth path.
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